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PSC holds public hearing on proposed wind farm

A wind farm proposed for eastern Williams County was the subject of a public hearing in Tioga today.
The Lindahl Wind Project would produce 150 megawatts of electrical power from as many as 75 wind turbines located north of Tioga near the county border.
One official with the company proposing the project says the expansion of oil and gas exploration has meant a big need for electrical power.
(Joe Arb, Tradewind Energy) “The demand for electricity has just been staggering. Along with that electricity demand has come a lot of electrical infrastructure, which is obviously required. So we were able to find a spot that had great wind, existing electrical infrastructure, a very high demand for electricity, and, compared to a lot of places that have this type of demand for electricity, there’s actually pretty low population.”
The state Public Service Commission hosted today’s hearing, soliciting comments from the public and hearing about specifics of the project from the developer.
PSC member Brian Kalk said he believed issues related to whooping cranes and eagles will have to be dealt with in deciding if and where the turbines would be erected.
PSC Chair Julie Fedorchak said those and many other issues will be closely looked at before any permits are issued for the project.
She says the key is to have a minimal impact on people and the environment while providing needed energy.
(Julie Fedorchak, Public Service Commission Chairman) “The companies have to come to us and show that they can build the project and minimize the impact on the citizens living near it and the environment and so there’s a whole series of criteria that apply for wind as well as for all other generation types and transmission lines and pipelines as well.”
Fedorchak says it may be unusual for a wind project to be considered in the heart of oil and gas country, but she says it’s part of the state’s commitment to pursuing all types of energy development.
She notes that Basin Electric has already signed an agreement to purchase power produced by the Lindahl Wind Project.
If the needed permits are received, the developers hope to have the wind farm producing energy by the end of next year.